Maree Clarke, Mutti Mutti/Yorta Yorta/Boon Wurrung, Portrait of Molly Mahoney, Maribyrnong river reed and feather necklace, 2019
This portrait of Molly Mahoney, great-niece of artist Maree Clarke, is a companion piece to the artist’s remarkable Maribyrnong river reed and feather necklace. It symbolises the importance of connection in Clarke’s art of cultural reclamation: connection between culture and Country, between ancestors and descendants, and between family members.
Molly wears the 50-metre necklace that Clarke made using natural materials gathered mostly from along the Maribyrnong in Melbourne’s west. Her photograph brings the necklace to life, bonding the young wearer with Country and investing the necklace with authentic cultural power. The photograph connects generations of kin and signals Clarke’s desire to share knowledge and to guarantee the survival of south-eastern Aboriginal culture.
This artwork and ‘Maribyrnong river reed and feather necklace’, also by Maree Clarke, were part of the same commission. They are both displayed in a key location within the newly refurbished ground floor of the Melbourne Town Hall Administration Building.